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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  October 16, 2011 7:00am-8:15am EDT

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was killed. the problem of reconstruction was a deep, deep problem, but johnson was utterly incapable of dealing with it. maybe lincoln would have been able to better, but on that note of counterfactual history let me stop and think you all and have a nice rest of the day. [applause] [applause] >> to find out more visit >> next weekend booktv will be live from the 2011 texas book festival in austin.
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>> up next leymah gbowee discusses her memoir at the los angeles public library. she was recently awarded the 2011 nobel peace prize and founded the protest movement, women of liberia mass action for peace. it is credited with being instrument in ending the second liberian civil war in 2003 and removing charles taylor from power. >> i want to encourage all of you to buy this book. she's not paying me for saying that to you. this is quite an extraordinary journey. it is a memoir of liberia's
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descent into madness, end of your journey in it, through it and out of it. but for right now, let us join together across the continent of north america, across the atlantic, to the continent of africa, and in particular, to liberia. america and library have a particular relationship, particular history together. would you speak to that briefly? >> thank you. thank you all for coming. carol, i call my therapist. this will be therapy. liberia is that country -- everything about liberia is like america, so you have our flags
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like the u.s. flag with one star, our constitution modeled like the u.s. constitution. and we have three branches of government like year. we call the house the parliamentarian's, sit in capital. we do, like i said, have supreme court chief justice just like your. everything. some of the streets are named after people from your. we have a virginia and maryland, and different things named after president james monroe. so we do have a rich history, and one liberian woman put it in a very nice context, liberia, america's stepchild.
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>> i am always interested when there is the kind of strife that has been so long lasting, was a long lasting and library, of the conditions that may have made that possible. would you speak to that, please? >> well, when the slaves came to liberia, the indigenous people like any other place where you have indigenous people where it's ironical that i'm speaking about here in california with your own history, were welcomi welcoming, they give them their land, they made them comfortab comfortable. and something that is typical, and they don't know how to show gratitude, the only life they knew was life of abuse. we have set up its at school.
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everything that people have so far, 100 plus years, indigenous people were purchased slaves of quote unquote descendents of the free slaves. if i give a quick example, if you had a lasting like my last name, many other people if you're. are like me, an aspiring to go to university, some of the ones who didn't have children would die, take my last name because that last thing of yours is not a representation of, you know, people who should come to the university. so they formed a technical school for children of indigenous people, because they were preparing them for their life of service for children of the free slaves.
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>> throughout the book, and your wonderful, wonderful book, you spoke time and again about fear. and i want to read a very short, one line sentence, just a wonderful pashtun and a quote. when you move so quickly from innocence to a world of fear, pain and loss, it's as if the flesh of your heart and mind gets cut away, piece by piece, like slices taken off i am. finally, there is nothing left but bone. leymah, i'd like you to speak to that through the lens about this issue of fear, through the lens of a woman and a mother in liberia. >> well, first i will step back and speak to them through the lens of a child, because i was a
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child when the war started, 17 year-old teenager who have been protected by her community, her family. and you wake up one morning and it's all gone. you are free, the sound of the guns, the actions of your parents, the actions of your siblings, the many relatives coming and telling you stories of horror, the fierce never ending. and i think it's at that point that that piece stops to go away. and then as it progresses, you pray that this madness within. i will go to bed tomorrow and it will be okay. you wake up the next morning and it's worse than the day before. and peace has been taken off. by the time to look at yourself from 17, like myself, i'm 31, and beyond the scars of the war in the fears of the war, you
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have the issue of violence and all the different things that you have seen. so it's just one issue after another. for that fear is something that pushes you back into a space that is difficult to describe, you are free. so it takes hold. it takes courage. it takes a lot away from you day by day. and most of the time people will read terror on people. that's what they want. gradually they are stripping you of your strength, they are stripping you of your willpower, and stripping you of everything that would ever bring you two ways people would fight back. >> there were time when your children were hungry, they were exhausted. it's unimaginable what that must've been like for you. >> you know, sometimes it's difficult to really put into context, but by the time i
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started having children, the fear of the bombs have gone away. and the fear of what would happen to me was gradually going away. it was the fear for their own lives, for the lives of the children, how they survive in the midst of all this. then you get to place we realize i won't have the power to even protect these children. then you get numb. you just sit there, you can't function, you can't do anything. if you have faith, you pray. but in my case i lost faith. >> and then we have charles taylor, comes on the scene around 1989, and he has his own private army. and one of the most egregious things that he does, in my estimation, is that he has the small boys army pages nine-15,
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were given guns, they are hopped up on alcohol and drugs, and they commit horrific atrocities. how, you know, because in a way they were a victim also, how have you had to work with yourself to find peace and forgiveness and reconciliation with these kids who have perpetrated such horrific crimes against women and children in particular? >> you never really want to think about -- the last thing you want to think about when you see the child soldier is starting about reconciliation and peace and how do we make life better for one another. i remember when i started working with those group of young boys in 1998, i was standing even as they were raining insults on the, i'm cursing the day they were born.
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and saying no wonder you have one leg, in my mind, and it's just anger and anger for me, but i was at a place would have -- like a porcupine and test time, it's too bitter to swallow and too greasy to throw away. i needed to go to school. this was the job for me. and that was the requirement for me to go back to school. so it was bitter to swallow, but in the school there was the greasy part i could not throw away. so i would stay within, visit within. but what happened, as i engage with these children, even through the façade or men, our boys turn to men and vicious killers, you gradually get to see who these people are. children. they are still trapped even at 15, 20, 25.
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they were still trapped in that moment when they are first given that first drug, or the first alcohol. so you see babies who still want their mothers. you see children, even at the place where they now have children, they are, you see children in them. so when you get to know them, when i get to know them and get to see beyond all the macho, i feel sorry for them. because i'm looking out my kids were other, i'm looking at my nephews, i'm looking at my own children. and then i'm looking at myself and saying, they are at the same place that i am. i'm trapped at a 1 17 year old, even at 26, and they are trapped at 10, 12, nine years old boys, even at 18.
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you can't help but to want to reach out to them. you can't help, because it tears down that wall of anger. and until today people in library cannot understand why i will stop my car, because i don't see killers. i see children that were exploited and abused. i see myself had i not come out of my own state of trauma physician. >> yes, indeed. you, about the time as i recall you started working as a volunteer for an organization, trauma and healing reconciliation program. and the cycle of fear took on something else. and if you would, i would love for you to read from your own
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blog, but you must get back to me, i'm has already been signed by the way, this opening paragraph if you would. >> when you're depressed, you get trapped inside yourself and can take action that might make you feel better. you hate yourself for the. you see the suffering of others, but feeling cable of helping them. hate makes you sad or, the saddest, the sadness makes you more helpless. the helplessness fills you with more sulfate. working at the trauma healing program broke that circle for me. i wasn't sitting home thinking endless what i fear i was. i was doing something, something that actually helps people. the more i did, the more i took. the more wanted to do, the more i saw needed to be done.
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>> and this was your introduction to being a piece builder? >> this was my introduction, yes. >> and it was about this time that you and the woman who was then your mentor, now she's become a beloved friend, thelma, he began a training manual for women we didn't teach women, but she thought out to transform them. and in this manual to our wonderful exercises of being a woman, dot dot dot, crowns, one of my crowns, one of my thorns, then there's another wonderful exercise of shedding weight. i'd like to ask you two questions about the manual. i know that sometimes you would be up much of the monday night hearing women's stories. is there one story in particular that you recall that you would be willing to share with us?
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>> there are many stories that made impression on me, but i am one person who has always thought that our traditional practices, female genital revelation, was not as bad as words been out to be, until we went to sierra leone and we formed a circle. i knew this woman who had worked with me for many years, and she is -- for community. and when we did this circle, she decided to tell her story. and her story went back to her self as a seven year old girl being taken into the transitional society and she tells a story about the day she was about to get mutilated. but what i remember about that
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story was that she started, and in 15 minutes she got to the place of mutilation. and that it took her almost 10 hours to progress from that place to the next part of the story. because she tells that they tiny, and then she goes mmm, and while she sat,. [inaudible] she cut her feet. she didn't know she was doing all of those things. she fell asleep. people woke her up. people fell back asleep, and she struggled and struggled. and by morning, so did the circle in sierra leone. we have when people start.
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she was the second, and in a circle of 20 people, she was the only story we heard the entire night. afterwards, she fall asleep, and it was like -- she now start our own organization in the community, fighting off the harmful practices, other issues related to women's rights. but still today, every time i see her i still remember that screen and her taking her toenails in the earth, and and fighting back and cries and and pains, and she was in her 30s, but it was the pain and hurt from seven years old she had
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been carrying all of her life. >> i have to tell you, that story takes my breath away. thank you for telling us that. the second question i have about this manual, easy being used now currently in various places of the world? >> people use it in different places in ways that we don't know. i still make references to it. i used it last year with the women. it is, like you said, a very powerful tool when you get to do it. and there is no category of women that you use that crown for thorns with, that doesn't really speak to them. one of the other parts of the matter, sometimes we try is reaffirming herself being a
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woman, and we do different things like the catwalk. we do different things like, i remember when we were working with all of these woman, asking them to stand up and just describe themselves. it was amazing. last year we did it with female ministers in liberia, and we asked them to stand up and just reaffirm their beauty. one of the female ministers said wow, i've never felt so good. i've never ever taken the time to compliment myself. so it's not about one spectrum of society you found yourself from gradual to middle to top level. taking care of the world, sometimes her husband's, looking for money that never really stopped to look at you and say, grow, you look good.
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one of the things i do to myself all the time is, when i did, and this is a little bit egotistic but i still do it, you stand in front of the mirror and say ooh, to look good. [applause] we have the women try and appreciate themselves. i will quickly move on and say give a quick example. one of the trainees we had, we ask world woman, we brought were women together and we asked them to write down their dreams, what they always dreamed about as a woman when it comes to this. and when some of the woman, one woman in the room, she said she had always wanted to wear a blue dress or red hat, our red shoes and make it. some of the women from highly traditional backgrounds said
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they always wanted to wear a pair of jeans. sunset they've always wanted to go to a nightclub. so by the time we finished that session i was on the phone to everyone i knew, do you have a red hat? do have a pair of jeans? [laughter] do you have this, do you have that? and by the next day, we had a full slew. those women got dressed, and the first part of their dream was to take into a nightclub. and we walked in the nightclub system, the guy asked is there a birthday party going on? we said no, we just came here to have a good time. the next day we did a fashion show. until this one died a year ago, that was the photograph she carried of herself coming down the stairs in a blue dress, red
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hat. >> lovely. >> she said before i got married, i was called edith. and then she got the muslim name. she said this is truly edith. those are some the things -- but these were things as simple as it sounds, leave that room or leave that space, and they never see them again i go back to their communities. >> it's interesting you would talk about a dream. those of us who are in ordained ministry talk about a call, our calling to ministry. by god, or jesus or however we want to define it. and you got a call in a crazy dream. would you talk about that? >> well, it was this night i laid by myself, and i was asleep on the cold floor. this is something you teacup
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from the wartime because you are afraid to sleep on the bed for stray bullets. so i lie there and i always hear this voice in my dream and i never see the face. saying, get up, gather the women, but the women together to pray for peace. i wake up shivering because the window is open and light rain was falling only. i go to work the next morning, i go to the pastor and i say i have this dream, and it said we should gather the women to pray for peace. they weren't talking about me. about my life, no. it can't be me they're talking about so you, as pastor, need to identify those women. and then he said, the dream kerry is the dream carrier.
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i was the beginning of some the cold the women christians freedom relationship. it would inspire to start the screw. so that was the beginning of the entire protests that later starred in 2003. >> that's right. and by now, 15 years in the making, and people were going in droves to monrovia to be in the refugee camps, and the refugee camps were hundreds, thousands of people, a lot of disease, a lot of malaria, the people not eating adequately, but yet you have said that it was seeing them and hearing of their experience in monrovia in the refugee camps that you were baptized into the women's movement, because they give you such a. they who had lost so much.
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>> you go to a community where people, one of the women i met from sierra leone who is a refugee was breast-feeding her baby when they got to checkpoint, and the soldiers cut off that breast. they all had different forms of physical disabilities. but these women were still saying we are the hope for our relatives. will go back and teach these children peace. and yeah, in caring might anger from years ago, even as i was angry, and asked me have you been raped? no. have you been abused? no. i went home and asked myself the same question. why am i angry? eyeing them being a hypocrite. going back to those women, we
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are the hope of our communities. that was a moment of baptism for me. sometimes you need water and sometimes you need fire. to really open your eyes, and i think i got both. >> so that was the beginning of the women's peace initiative. >> i was the beginning of my own awareness that, you know, they are right. we are the answer. women peace initiative started with film a inviting us to ghana, taking the concept, bring it back and starting thumping. for christian women was born before the women in initiative. so when we came back, ghana with that idea, we were already using our platform. so today from 2002 until today, every tuesday at 12 noon defined the christian women up in the
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room at the compound. from 2002 until today, 12th in every tuesday. even if there is one person, someone is they're paying for the keys of library. and declare fast. and the women, peace network, is back on praying for peace now as we speak. >> and it was at this juncture that your work started becoming strategic. >> most strategic, yes. >> and what i found compelling is that as you are by now muslim and christian women are working together, and you look to the book of esther, and say something about that if you will. >> we decided to protest. you could not, liberia like any other place, even here, has been divided on social lines, status,
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and ideological, everything. and you could not mobilize a group of people to work for peace. because you want community, a hero to his people. so you have to really comment it was difficult to get anyone. when we brought these women to get together, the fact we had to do what moved beyond religion, ethnicity, ideological or political ideologies, and bring us to a place where it was about womanhood. who cries the most when a baby dies? who does this the most? who does that the most? who are the ones they raped? then they understood that part. and then before we could even move into, that thing you needed
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separate group identity. so as christian women, the thing we were getting was, we may have never been at war with these things so we have to take the christian women back to the bible. c. astor, these were revolutionary works that these women did. it wasn't sit down fast and pray. they got out there, put their faces in the forefront of the politics of their time. we went into the koran, the wife of the prophet mohammed, she had a voice. she was not silent. she was not docile, and a board missing muslim women are supposed to be. and then there was a recess that i formed on the islamist perspective on nonviolence and the christian perspective of nonviolence that i exploited to
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the fall. >> bravo. [applause] but it was that kind of thing that we used, so by the time when we decided to do this fast, it had caught on. and then the women said, like esther, look at me. on a normal day this is the way real women dress. no one would take it seriously. nicely dressed, jewelry and everything, so we had to go back. we are recognized that we have a role to play in the violence our communities are facing. the white was symbolic for peace. the hair tied with two color the beauty of the hair. no shoes, no jewelry, no makeup, and god have a sense of humor, at that time we decided and he
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cleared are fast and prayer. i had one of the funkiest haircuts in all of liberia. and i have to cut off my hair not a bad piece, i have to redo my hair. [laughter] but that was how the christian women approached it. and the muslim women just bought into it. >> so there you are, and your strategy is to gather at the fish market. because that's where -- >> highways. people went to work every day. no one passed without looking right. >> so you were out there. now, imagine this, in the library and son, and then it would rain and it doesn't get cooled off from the rain. it gets hotter and humid and
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women whose clothing hung on them in the white t-shirt and you are out there for how many days? >> two years. >> two years, two years. but finally, in the middle of that -- >> in the middle of that we were there for six weeks. and then he agreed to go, to meet with us. >> but somewhere in there there's a decision about knows sex. we have to talk about that. >> well, the muslim woman -- sometimes we say ivan and the muslim because we have a devious mind. [laughter] she was the one coming to us and think you know what, we started this thing and these men of ours are writing opinions in the newspaper. they are just silent. so we have to move them to action on how jesus would we do that? she said a sex drive.
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let's deny them sex in the urban areas. we failed miserably. [laughter] we were not strategic. so we were not strict with six straight. in the morning some of the woman would come out and say i had to give them. in the rural areas, the women called their husbands into the church and said we are at a point where we need to seek god's faith for peace. we are fasting. we are praying. and you know, the whole thing of fast is denying yourself the pleasures. we have come to you to tell you that as we journey, take this journey, it means no sex. they agreed.
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so, for months, nothing. and then the husband would be sitting there and fasting along with them. but when we ended the protest after two years, in the real community, -- rural community, we saw men walk down with gifts and flowers. these are rural men. >> they are courting. >> and they come to appreciate their wives publicly. and then one of them leaned over and said oh, and about the sex. because today we and, to date we have sex. but they were more strategic. our sex strike was a way, like you, caught the attention of the me, caught the attention of the men. and there was a boss encounter
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for almost a week people were talking about sex dragon, this is extracting, this extracting. >> that's the amazing thing you didn't know about that. some where in their its decide to have a position, statement, and take it to parliament. and, finally, charles taylor agreed to meet with you. >> yes. >> there is this extraordinary scene of hundreds of women at your back literally. you're up on a stage, and they are praying for you to be steadfast in intention, and also for, say, not interrupt this process. and with a steady hand and a steady voice, you present this position, paper, the president taylor. and it's after that that he agrees to go into peace talks in
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ghana. >> yes. >> you continued that strategy at the peace talks where the warlords, president of other countries in africa, of course taser, and you kept getting the women there in their white. and you were very strategic about that. the peace talks, it's like the guys are having a good time. they had club med -- >> they were making a thousand dollars a day. do you want to end the? >> no, i don't think so. not when many of them come from such poor nations. but they were continue to jockey for power. you then took the women into the hall, and create that scene for us, leymah. it's just extraordinary. >> we went there with seven women and mobilize the refugee women. we talked in our minds that we
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would for a week, we stayed for three months. the talks were going nowhere. the violence had increased. i had lost faith in the power of nonviolence. i was constantly crying. at some point i stopped doing the women to protest. and this morning i go to the offices of the west africa network building, and i am watching the guy who video. and they give a newsflash. these two little boys were brushing their teeth. all that was left of those boys were there slippers. they were crushed. a young girl had just given birth and came outside to hang the babies close. she was crushed. so, on that video the mother is holding this one day old child and saying, what do i do?
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and i'm sitting, watching this video, and the answer is just well enough. and i think all the anger from 17 years old came back. and the tears is running down. i go into one of the rooms and they have some of the white t-shirts. i put it on. go to the peace talks and say, do we have money? she suggests. we set for more money. she said what is this for, and i said i will tell you later. i went to demonstrate. we have a store today. they said what is it? we get word that the warlords and the media where going into session at 10:00. so i separate myself from this group, sit at a table and write my hostage letter. wrote the letter, folded, and by the time i got through writing the letter, the women had arrived. the people were going into the rooms, into the room. i went in the room to sit down.
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at that time no one had any clue of what they were doing. they were just taking instructions. and then i tapped on the door of the peace all. and a nigerian general turn and i said i want to see. he said me? and he came and they gave him the letter. and i took her to the media and he read it. and the only thing he said on the obit because oh, my god. they have seized the truth haul. [applause] but as we seize the hall, then the police come and they say you're obstructing justice. >> and you went off? >> totally. [laughter] my life flashed past the former. by socialization flashed past before me.
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i had been brought up to believe the men of the world protected women and children. if i am being a case of obstructing justice, and all i'm trying to do is to deliver a semblance of justice to my people, i felt like there is no hope. it was the depths of humiliati humiliation, rape, abuse, death, destruction. you've seen awful theaters. i just said, you know what? i'll make it easy for you. i'll strip naked. and someone asked, so what, in the country, when you see stripping, they would have done. i was protesting the pain of every woman. when you're being raped, your
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clothes are torn off you. when you are protesting in pain, you are giving away the last shred of your integrity. and that was what i was doing, and protest. take it. take my integrity. take what is left of womanhood. for every library and women, take it. if this will bring peace, take it spent and when you took off the head covering -- >> took off the head cover, every library and woman you see with this on have something like short pants under it. because of the war. so we are so traumatized. even in america, i still carry it. take off the skirt, the rap, and it's like put it back on. he said, don't do this. but on my left, sugar, my mentor, had already started stripping also. and they are saying, don't do
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this. but the men who came to arrest us, understand african culture. they run. so someone said they were running from our bodies. they run away spent but that began to turn it around. >> it turned it around 100%. it turned it around for all, because at that time when we negotiated to need that space, we understood that we, too, had power. so the message on our placards, it became more vicious and more bold. we were referring, where as in the past they would say give us peace. and then they choose to walk hockey and arrogant, they have to pass by us. no more insults were thrown at
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us. in three weeks, a peace agreement was signed. [applause] >> a transitional government was put in place. you have said, and i agree with you, that ultimately goodness wins out over even us. -- evilness. but there's a price to pay, and i would like for you, from your book, to read the price that was paid. right here. >> a war of 14 years doesn't just go away. in the moment, we have to confront the magnitude of what happened to liberia. 250,000 people were dead.
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a quarter of them children. one in three were displaced were 350,000 living internally displaced. and the rest anywhere they could find shelter. 1 million people, mostly women and children, were outbreaks of malnutrition, diarrhea, and cholera because of contamination in their wills. or than 70% of the country physical infrastructure, our roads, hospitals had been destroyed. the psyche damage was almost unimagined. a whole generation of young men had no idea. several generations of women had raped, see their daughters and mothers raped, and their children killed and be killed. neighbors had turned against neighbors. and people have lost hope. and old people, everything they have painstaking returned, we were traumatized.
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we had survived the war, but now we have to remember how to live. peace isn't the moment. it is a very long process. >> it is through what you did that you were largely responsible for the election of the first woman president of nigeria -- library, i'm sorry. allen johnson, and you're going to be going back to your country within a few days. she is up for election again. >> yes, next tuesday. >> what do you think the chances are? >> i'm going to go out on a limb and say she's going to have a win. [applause] >> we're going to turn over for questions, but i do want to ask you one more question, transit, if i may. you have done so much and you have sacrificed greatly.
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and you have paid a price. would you be willing to speak to that for a moment? >> well, i really don't think i have done anything. yesterday i was having a conversation with a friend, and i said to her, not until i prayed the devil back to help that i felt we had done anything significant, in my mind until today it was a survival tactic. fighting for the future of our children. and i would have been content if we didn't get on the big screen, you know? i feel like, i feel i, like you said earlier, i was called to do what i do. i don't have any sense of wow, i'm doing great work.
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every time i go to a space into something, i believe that space thinking, this really do good. and i really making impact? and if only with the young people i engage with any team unity of women, sometimes, and i thought documentary that was done in uganda with some of the rural women, and one of them said the first time i look at the logo, if she can do, i, too, can do it. so i'm at a place now where all i want is the opportunity to do my work, do what i do this, to encourage people, to maximize their potential. and the sacrifices, i don't think i've made any sacrifice. i think i have just lived. i don't think the pain has gone
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through, i see it as the only way that i could have, that was my empowerment, to do what i do know. i don't think of myself as anyone great. so when i go to places, i tried to ask people to kindly to say, i'm a mother of six so that the only thing that gives me so much pleasure, in that i am a peace and women's rights activist. and so i'm content. i am so content with where i find myself. i'm content with the work that i do. if i don't become the secretary-general of the u.n. or a president of liberia, or any other thing, i'm just content working in my community. i'm just content being what god called me to be.
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i will not, i don't begrudge them for any of the trials that i've gone through in life. i don't see any of the achievements that i've gotten as a right. i see it as god's will. [applause] [inaudible] >> do we need to move? [inaudible] >> all right.
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>> they thought none of us would survive to tell the truth. they will not take our land away from us. ♪ ♪ >> this saturday, we went by the bible.
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>> this is how we decided to sit at the fish market every day. thousands of women, including
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internally displaced women went. it was the first time in our history in liberia where mostly -- muslim women and christian women were coming together. >> we had a big banner that said if women of liberia want peace now. >> charles taylor said those who think they can come up in the streets to embarrass themselves, come out. i'm waiting for you. i said nobody, nobody will be in the streets my administration.
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>> we were not afraid. my mother was, like, if you go to the streets they will kill you. >> you look at the front line discussion, and this is what the newspapers report on, the fighting tactics, the troops, the politics, the borders. the army, all of the things. that is a means of story. the backline discussion of the story is how you actually exist and live and continue on living
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in war. that is a woman's story. that story has never been told. >> warfare is a very different proposition that in which civilians are not quote collateral damage as we once called them, but really very much in the center of the war zone. >> the ordinary are the ones who watch their children die. the women are the ones rate. and this conflict when the wars, all the wars are being negotiated, they are never considered. >> no violence. stop the violence. stop the violence. >> i think it's way past time we redefined what we mean by work, because there are no front lines in the wars in today's world.
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the fact is that in today's wars, the primary victims are women and children. >> thank you so much for everything. thinking about letters he, --
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literacy,. [inaudible] did you all do any reading, or if you did, what did you read? thank you. >> when we started the work, i think we would see women have different skills. and i was the only one who had a tiny bit of skills abound peace building. and i had read gandhi. i read king, and i was mesmerized by the power of nonviolence. for a long time i felt right, that was the most powerful way of life. it was nothing more powerful to do these things that i've read, but we also, when we talk issues of nonviolence, we asked women to give us stories of acts of
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nonviolence in their communities. and there were different stories that came up that really spoke to what we felt we were doing. so we didn't do a lot of theoretical things. it was not until after we did this work when i went to do my graduate studies that i would read, we were doing a construction building. and we did that strategy. we did this, that was strategic. is that a tactic or strategy? you know, all of those job own to use any i should peace building things, yes, just read a little of king's, yes. >> thank you so much. i'm struck as, i'm struck what you're talking about your sense of community and how you women could see what was happening in your community. in our country we are at war all
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the time, in other places. so right now in libya there's a siege that has been going on for weeks. people barely know about it. people there don't have food, they don't have water, they are getting bombing, sorties every day. we don't internalize that because this is not an argument or in iraq or in afghanistan. so i guess i'm wondering, how does one create a larger world community where we care? and we can't object to these wars and we care about other people in other parts of the world. >> you know, i have come to a very cynical place of when it comes to us versus them, a world, your world, my world. and your question is a good question.
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your question can be answered in two ways. the first is, in your community you see the wars. open your eyes. in this community you will see the war also. it's here. it's happening. i think the connections between your world and my world, and i will cross that out and say the connection in our world is our ability to move beyond. i want to help there and stop this. i want to help your. that's one. ..
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>> this country has resources. what you're hut off is -- what you're shut off is act vies. [applause] -- activists. [applause] if you put me in a tiny community in this country, i'll give myself a year, and i will have created a community. [laughter] i went to emu, and i'm not kidding you, when you learn to exist in a community, you cannot
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exist without a community. my sister died in june of 2006. i came back to school in the u.s. in august of 2006. she died when i was driving her to the hospital, and i drove around with her body in the car for three hours and could not cry. because i was looking for a place to put that body. i came back to school and determined that i will not live an isolatedded life. so the first thing i did was identify every african, and there was not a single liberian in one of those africans. the next thing i did, those africans were always hungry. my apartment all had food. -- always had food. a community had started. african-american men started coming. the arabs came.
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and before you knew it, i was being called big mama or mother of peace. i i use the resources that i saw in america to create my sense of community. today i can probably say if i learn that in afghanistan, i would go straight to the swedish embassy because the political analyst there would give me a place to sleep. if i went to yemen, i'll go to the u.s. embassy because one of the strategists there is a man called, um -- oh, his name has escaped me. he would give me place to sleep. my world has. shrunk. when they had the bombing in uganda, the first thing i'm on
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the internet, nelson, are you okay? because i know he's a football lover. a young man works with me in washington, d.c. and has a young child. this is your first grandchild. to crate community is not difficult -- to create a community is not difficult. i said, ma'am, do you see those sassy girls passing up and down in your neighborhood as you sit on your porch? she said, yes, i see them. i said, those girls are going up and down because they're looking for you to recognize them. i said, just try it. call one and say i want you to be my friend. she will go and come, and i give her a space of three months. the story that her mother will never hear, you will hear it. so to come back to your question, let's start from here,
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and let's connect our world. how can we do that? how can we use -- how can you use your platform of activism here to influence the need for resources in libya? there's so much to do here. there is so much to do here. there is so much to do here. ms. . [applause] >> a friend of mine gave me the chain the devil -- [inaudible] and gave it to him and said, you're going really love this. and so honored to be in your presence. very honored to be in your presence. i'm a community activist, and i live in war zone, south central, and i'm a promoter of peace. i've been part of a world peace
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organization. i'm just really honored to be in your presence. what i would like, you know, like to invite you to come to our community for a year -- [laughter] okay? and i really want to focus -- my mother raised me in the sisterhood consciousness when i was very young, okay? and the training manual, how can i get ahold of that, and, you know, help, you know, the women to, you know, be all that they can be? i mean? help us, help us. >> i'll direct you my card and see if we can, um, if we have an e-mail copy, a pdf copy that i can send to you. >> [inaudible] >> thank you. very nice to hear you speak, and
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i can't wait to read your book. it seems like you really tapped on something there, or tapped into something there. do you think worldwide if a sex strike took place that maybe this could really improve the entire world? [laughter] >> no. [laughter] what worldwide, if a change of mindset about sex took place, it would change the entire world. my sister live in new york, and every time i come, we find time to hang out. so this day we're just flipping through the pages of a magazine, and they were advertising a watch. and there is a young man sitting in his underwear, and the watch is on his thigh. so i say, which part of his body
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is going to wear this watch? [laughter] i don't understand the connection. [laughter] if a man in briefs and a wristwatch on his thigh unless there's a new way of wearing a watch in the u.s. that i don't know about. [laughter] but the objectivecation of young boys and girls as sex objects is destroying the next generation of leaders. when young men see young women, they don't see brains anymore, they see from here to here. and young women believe that i don't need brains as long as i have from here the here. it is a sad state. i have a young white niece, and we had a conversation, a friend
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of mine, over the weekend about it. on college campuses now in the u.s. kids are just hooking up. there's nothing of a relationship. so i keep asking my good friend, abby, what is hooking up? do they just look at each other and say, let's go and hook up? is it just then sex, then sex? because that's the feeling that comes across. young people are no more happy. if there's no more space for less talk and progress to the next level, it's from here to here. and until we can change that, we're in trouble. and this is a global disease. this is a global disease. who are the young people that we're rolling back our lives to,
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the countries and the work that we're doing too? i was talking at the university of california santa barbara yesterday, and we talked about this same issue. and every time i think about the whole issue of peace and security for women and think about the global media and how sexes has taken over -- sex has taken over, a quote that was done in research from breath brand, and they did a research project. they say the impact of war or conflict on women's lives is a reflection of the interaction during peacetime. so if our young people are hooking up and hooking up and hooking up, imagine if war took place in this country what would be the statistics of rape.
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what would be the statistics of abuse. the other question is, if we continue to objectify young women as sex objects and encourage our young men so that young women are the prey and the young men are the predator for sex, how do we talk about participation and politics? because the way the world is functioning now, the world is functioning one side of his brain. you have all the men in power, so that's one side to have brain. the women are not, they are virtually not in the political space, so that other side of the brain is not functioning. so that's why we have a sick world. you wonder why the economy in this country is this way? it's because it is functioning on one side of the brain. so if we say, if we think we have a problem now and we don't
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correct that whole thing of sex and object because it's all part of the discussion around peace, it's all part of the discussion around security. it's all part of the discussion around equality. and if we don't start addressing it, thank god this is los angeles, california, the place where dreams are made. how do we change that image of 12-year-old girls wanting to wear thong? how? is not the sex strike. it's the strike on the sex industry. [applause] >> i have gotten b a high sign that we need to end our time together tonight. i want to thank the aloud series and the los angeles public
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library for this extraordinary evening and thank you to all of you who have come tonight. i encourage you to let's be together in community after the formal presentation of this, and to you, thank you so much. >> thank you. thank you for having me p. thank you all for coming. [applause] >> is there a nonfiction author or book you'd like to see featured on booktv? send us an e-mail at or tweet us at >> it's a fact-based story on a topic of your choosing. every good story has a good beginning, a solid middle and a strong ending. >> what do you think we should do for this year's c-span student cam competition? >> you don't need the best video
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equipment to have a winning project. today cell phones and flip cams do a great job of capturing video. if you don't have access to better video equipment, don't let that stop you. and if you need a little bit more help, go to >> this process can be confusing at first, but c-span will help you stay organized. i find it useful to read the rules very carefully and then make a checklist of what you need to do. don't worry, the process becomes clear once you get started. >> another great thing is you can work alone on the project, or you can work in teams. for example, if you're a good writer but not very handy with the camera, then get a friend to help out. you'll increase your chances of winning. >> you don't need to be an expert at video production or interviewing to make this work. you can use your parents, other students, teachers and c-span as resources for you along the way. this process is both


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